And a part of my childhood dies

It’s the end of Reading Rainbow, a victim of the bad economic times and, it sounds, education policy designed to make reading as mechanical as possible, according to John Grant, the show’s producer:

Grant says the funding crunch is partially to blame, but the decision to end Reading Rainbow can also be traced to a shift in the philosophy of educational television programming. The change started with the Department of Education under the Bush administration, he explains, which wanted to see a much heavier focus on the basic tools of reading — like phonics and spelling.

“Reading Rainbow taught kids why to read,” Grant says. “You know, the love of reading — [the show] encouraged kids to pick up a book and to read.”

You betcha. Thanks, Bush-era education policy, for reinforcing the notion that something which might be difficult must also be joyless.

LeVar Burton, both as the host of Reading Rainbow and Geordi Laforge, has been one of the great loves of my life.* Along with reading, I should add.

From happier times, Burton singing the Reading Rainbow theme.

Maybe I’ll spend this weekend reading, because I can, and it is joyful.

*Have you ever seen an actor with prettier eyes?